A Man Gets Off Work Early Poem
and decides to snorkel in a cool mountain lake.
Not as much to see
as in the ocean but it’s tranquil (no sharks) floating
face down into that other world.
The pines’ serrated shadows reach
across the waters
and just now, below him, to his left,
a pickerel, long and sharp and…whappa whappa
louder, behind, above him, louder,
whappa whappa whappa….Two weeks later,
20 miles away, he’s found,
a cinder, his wetsuit
melted on him, in a crab-like position
on the still warm ash
of the forest floor
through which fire tore unchecked,
despite the chemicals,
the men with axes and shovels,
despite the huge scoops of lakewater,
dropped on it,
from his friend, the sky,
on whom he turned his back.
first published in Poetry International, issue III